As part of peace sustainment efforts, the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) of Zamboanga del Sur held the groundbreaking ceremony on August 26, 2020, for the construction of 3.32-kilometer road project in the hinterland barangays of Dilud and Saad in Dumingag municipality.
The Provincial Government of Zamboanga del Sur, the Municipal Government of Dumingag, and the Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion (53IB) spearheaded the said groundbreaking ceremony.
The said road project that will connect to the towns of Katipunan, Osmeña, and other parts of Zamboanga del Norte will also serve as a farm-to-market road to help farmers in transporting their crops and commodities in less time, translating to a more and efficient way of earning income.
Saad and Dilud were two of the hinterland barangays in Dumingag town treated by the Communist-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) terrorists as their safe havens but were already declared as “cleared” after the community engagements by Community Support Program (CSP) and Retooled CSP (RCSP) of the Philippine Army.
CSP and RCSP are the programs by which the PTF-ELCAC determines the issues and concerns in barangays, mostly exploited by CPP-NPA.
Saad Barangay Chairman Jeffrey Señara expressed gratefulness for giving Barangay Saad a solution for its problem after for a long time.
“Today, no one can explain our greatest happiness, honor, and pleasure about this groundbreaking ceremony. Of all the barangays in the hinterlands, we are one of those who have been given a chance and opportunity for having a project like this one,” Señara said.
Dumingag Mayor Joan Abejuela congratulated the community in Barangay Saad for their cooperation and support.
“This is the day that we have been waiting for. This will be a new step for Barangay Saad to achieve a higher form of development,” Abejuela said.
53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said Barangay Saad would no longer suffer because of transportation issues.
“The role of convergence here is to address the basic services and I know that many of you here are victims of the wrong ideology and propaganda of the CPP-NPA. That is why your government officials, hand in hand with your soldiers, are earnestly doing our task to address this communist armed problem in accordance with the main priority of Executive Order 70 to end the communists and communism itself,” said Lt. Col. Herrera.
“With the government’s support through financial and technical assistance combined with the cooperation of the people, we can achieve freedom, harmony, and peaceful community here in Brgy Saad.”, Hon. Divina Grace C Yu, 1st District Representative, ZDS.
Zamboanga Del Sur Governor Victor Yu said the 20-million pesos road project is provided for the communities in the far-flung areas should be utilized accordingly.
“Nowadays, it’s the right time for us to be one with the government. President Duterte launched this ELCAC project in order for us to invite our fellow Filipinos who are still suffering from the wrong ideology of the CPP-NPA-NDF, and help them surrender and receive the benefits of ECLIP, and also give them cash assistance to help them in beginning their new life,” Yu said.